Gin Kings on top | Inquirer Sports

Gin Kings on top

Texters subdue Elasto Painters, gain upper half of q’final draw
By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
/ 04:36 AM May 29, 2017

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ANTIPOLO CITY—Fan-favorite Barangay Ginebra crept closer to the No. 1 ranking in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup playoffs after pulling out the stops on both ends in a gripping endgame and surviving Meralco on Sunday night, 90-89, before a boisterous crowd at Ynares Center here.

Joe Devance and LA Tenorio scored the Gin Kings’ final four points inside the last 38.9 seconds before Meralco sealed its fate with a blown fastbreak play which could have turned things around as Ginebra claimed a piece of the elimination round lead with idle Star at 8-2.

Ginebra has lightweight Mahindra as a final elimination round foe on Friday at Smart Araneta Coliseum, and a win—regardless of how Star and San Miguel Beer fare in their last games—will give the Kings top ranking after having beaten both sister teams.

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Tenorio and Justin Brownlee scored 22 points each to pace the Kings, while Meralco got 21 points from Baser Amer.

At 7-4 the Bolts are still assured of playing in a best-of-three series in the quarterfinals.

Earlier, TNT KaTropa found it hard shaking off a determined Rain or Shine side, needing some big buckets inside from huge import Joshua Smith in eking out a 105-102 decision.

Throwing his weight around inside the paint with the Elasto Painters losing import Duke Crews at the halfway mark of the third quarter, Smith hit two critical lay-ins before Ranidel de Ocampo canned two free throws with 3.6 seconds left for what turned out to be the final count.

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The Texters thus closed out with an 8-3 record and qualified safely in the upper half of the quarterfinal draw.

And with two more playdates remaining, TNT still has a chance at making the top two if some of the leaders lose their remaining games.

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Rain or Shine, which won this tournament last season, ended its elimination round stint with a 5-6 record after a second consecutive defeat.

The Painters are assured of at least a playoff for the last quarterfinal slot and could even get a free ride to qualify in the middle of the pack depending on the results of the last two game days.

Alaska and Star will clash on Wednesday, and if the Hotshots defeat the depleted Aces, there’s a strong chance the Painters could avoid the seventh or eighth positions.

GlobalPort, which battles San Miguel Beer at the end of the elimination round on June 2, would also need another win to make it to the next round without a hitch, in case Alaska loses.

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“I don’t know if we still have a chance [at a top two finish],” TNT coach Nash Racela said. “All I know right now is that we are not at a twice-to-win disadvantage.”

TAGS: Basketball, PBA, PBA Commissioner's Cup

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